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29 December, 2009

Happy New Year!...and...A Southern Tradition

new year1 It’s nearly here! The old year is winding down and the new one is headed our way...time to prepare for the annual celebration! Miss Kitty is excited to be the hostess this year…can’t you tell? lol

pageIt’s time to head to the grocery store and stock up on the necessary supplies. Here in Georgia, we only get fancy sparklers, but they are still fun. And…I’m only wishing I had bought that yummy cake!

store And…many of us Southerners will also be filling our carts with the traditional talismans for luck in the new year…collard greens, black-eyed peas and ham hocks! And…dear readers…I will be among them...well, except for the ham hocks. I use a HoneyBaked hambone instead. I’m not sure what a hock is and I don’t think I want to know!

IMG_3336 This is last year’s New Years Day dinner, but the menu is always the same…collard greens (click here for my recipe), black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, macaroni and cheese ( Patti LaBelle’s recipe), rice, cornbread and ham served with sweet tea. Yum! Yum! We mix the rice, peas and stewed tomatoes and call it hoppin’ john. I can’t wait! I am a stomp down good country cook, if I do say so myself!

This year I will have eight for dinner…my little family, two dear friends and my daughter’s in-laws. I will make sure that everyone around me gets a big helping of peas and collards because they bring luck and represent next year’s money…the peas are the coins and the collards are the bills. Now, I am not saying I’m superstitious, but the one year I didn’t have them was not a good one! lol I’ll have an extra helping of collards for dessert…but just because I love them!

kevin You may recognize my son-in-law’s plate from last year. Can you see the collards and black-eyed peas? lol lol Yes…teeny tiny waaaaay up at the top of his plate! Do you get the impression that he doesn’t really like them? I have to say it again…what a good man to take one for the family!

I want to take this opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed getting to know all of you and how much you have come to mean to me! I find it hard to have a conversation with my non-blogging friends without bringing up a funny story or a great recipe that one of you has shared. Isn’t it amazing how close you can feel to people you have never really met? I have been very fortunate to meet some of you in person, and it has been like hanging out with old friends. I wish a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to each of you, my dear friends, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2010!

Warmest wishes and big hugs to you all!….Debbie

26 December, 2009

Thanks, Santa!...or...Woo Hoo!

surprise Did you forget me, Santa? I’ve been a really good girl this year, so I thought that…hey…wait a minute! I’ve been watching them build it…

IMG_9205…brick by brick as I drive by…wondering what it might be. Hmmm…it has a drive-through, so it must be a drugstore. Except…hey!…does that say…??

IMG_9204 Can it be? And not too far from me?

straight no wBe still my heart! Is it possible?

straight bldg Woooo hoooo! The signs are up today! It is! It is!

straight sign My very own Goodwill store…four sides brick…built from the ground up! Not in an old grocery store! Have you ever seen such a beautiful sight? Yippee! I hope it will be a good one! My neighbor wanted to know why I’m so excited, so I took her through my house…

thrifting finds …and showed her these…

finds 2 …and these…all trophies from Goodwill hunting expeditions and thrifting treks!! I think I just may have a convert! lol Or maybe it’s better to keep it a secret! What do you think?

Thanks so much for stopping by!

met mon Be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday where you can get a peek at her gorgeous home and see what sorts of changes she is making, as well as find out who else is playing along! See you next time! A la prochaine!

20 December, 2009

Bienvenue!...or...Welcome to the Christmas Tour at the Plate Addicts!

welcomeWelcome! I hope you will join us here at Plate Addict for a little Christmas tour! The staff has been working very hard to make everything ready! Sooo…we’ll start here on the porch where we have added sparkly red balls to our usual simple garland. We have also spiffed up our Pottery Barn copy cat lanterns for Christmas with some bows and cranberries!

IMG_9587The wreath came from Target several years ago but was dressed up with a few fancy floral picks! I like the unexpected colors on the flowers. Won’t you please come in and join us?

IMG_9557 Our host for this evening is none other than our very own celebrity, Baby Kitty! He also supervised the decoration of our special tree, as you will see!

potpourri Doesn’t the house smell so nice and Christmasy? It’s a bowl containing my favorite potpourri...The Smell of Christmas by Aromatique! It is being guarded by a pair of cardinals…my favorite birds! I also have some of my homemade potpourri simmering on the stove! (click here for the recipe)

straight fireplace Baby Kitty is taking advantage of the fire in the fireplace to show you a few changes that have been made since I first posted my mantel. Can you spot them?

tree plates Three of the plates have been replaced by Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles Pink Christmas plates! I found them at TJ Maxx, begging to come home with me!

IMG_9679 And you may also notice that, even though I said I didn’t miss having a garland with lights, I finally had to add some sparkle to my wreath! A mantel just needs some lights for me!

straight candy Also, the mice have escaped from the cloche and are hanging out on the demi-lune table near the fireplace! A few candy canes in an old pewter sugar bowl continue the candy cane stripe in the room.

straight table tree There is a small Christmas tree on the table behind one of the love seats. I just wrapped some toile fabric at the base as a skirt. Using the mantel as inspiration, I tried to keep a toile and stripe theme going. Hmmm…Baby Kitty seems to have a theme going of his own, since the ornaments are all…

birdsbirds! More birds to join the cardinals guarding the potpourri!

IMG_9793 And Baby Kitty seems to have called in more kitties to help with the decorating! They are tree toppers dressed in old-fashioned garb. And the kitties have been joined by a doggie and a deer! I think you could sell me anything that has little animals wearing clothes! lol

IMG_9810 In honor of the occasion, Baby Kitty has made his special Christmas cookies and some Russian tea! And… he is using his special Christmas plates! They are Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday. I think cardinals must be his favorite bird, too!

fire Here’s one last peek at our living room! We hope you’ll sit by the fire and enjoy some cookies and special Christmas music because we think you are very special! So we are wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a special holiday season with your families!

IMG_9555 And from the management and staff here at Confessions of a Plate AddictMerry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Please head on over to Mary’s at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday to see one of her beautiful mosaics and to find a list of this week’s participants. You will be treated to some wonderful photos from some very talented people!

met mon Next, be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday where you can get a peek at her gorgeous home and see what sorts of changes she is making, as well as find out who else is playing along! I’m sure that you will see lots of beautiful Christmas decorations!

deck the halls

And then on Tuesday, please join Susan at thoughtsfromovertherainbow for Deck the Halls! We will be showing off our Christmas decorations every Tuesday between December 1st and January 5th, so come get in on the fun! Thanks again for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!

17 December, 2009

Oldies But Goodies...or...Easy Christmas Recipes

IMG_9729I have been busy baking for my family Christmas celebration this weekend and I realized that I have a few quick and easy recipes that I might share with you. I will be assisted by our guest co-hostess Vanna the Christmas Mouse since Baby Kitty is busy wrapping the Christmas gifts for the staff.
The first one is a simmering potpourri…not intended to drink, although it wouldn’t hurt you since it’s all natural, but intended to make your house smell wonderful and Christmasy! I don’t know about you, but the smell of oranges and cinnamon just says Christmas to me!

IMG_9726It’s so simple that you probably already have all of the ingredients!
  • First bring a quart of water to a boil. 
  • Next add half of an orange cut into smaller sections (I usually squeeze the juice into the water and then add the peel).
  • Finally, add two cinnamon sticks, two bay leaves and 20-25 whole cloves.
Let it boil for a few minutes, then turn it down to a simmer and leave it on the stove. In about 30 minutes, your whole house will smell wonderful! You can put it in the fridge and reuse it for several days. I have even frozen it and pulled it back out on a really cold night to make the house feel cozy. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level when the potpourri is simmering. It is so easy and inexpensive compared to store bought potpourri!

IMG_9737 The second is intended to drink…instant Russian tea! I keep it in my snowman jar. Here in the South, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Russian tea! Can I still call it that? Is it politically correct? lol My sister makes a big batch of it whenever we come over during the holidays. She makes the real thing (click here for that recipe), but I like the instant kind because I can make as much or as little as I want and I can make it as strong as I want. I will give you the recipe, but you have to promise not to laugh! OK?

IMG_9749 Why will you laugh? Because I have had this recipe for 30 years and you will know how old I am when you see the ingredients!
Instant Russian Tea
1 one lb container of Tang (It’s actually 1.4…I just don’t use it all.)
1 pkg instant unsweetened lemonade
3/4 cup instant tea
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients well. Place in a tightly covered jar. Place 2 teaspoons in a cup of boiling water. (I like to use 3 teaspoons.) Enjoy!
I LOVE this stuff! You have to hunt the Tang…maybe on the bottom shelf! It seems that the astronauts don’t drink it so much any more! lol lol You ladies my age will remember that! I wonder if the Russian cosmonauts drink Russian tea? Ahem…

IMG_9752 My third recipe is a very easy candy recipe…chocolate butterscotch granola candy. Those are the ingredients, too! At my house we call it Uncle Larry's candy because it’s his favorite. I actually got this recipe from one of my students in the '70s…yikes! I’ve been using this one a long time! The butterscotch gives it an extra little yummy taste.
Chocolate Butterscotch Granola Candy
about 3/4 of a box of Quaker Natural Granola Oats, Honey & Raisins ( The box is bigger than it used to be.)
one 12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
one 12 ounce bag of butterscotch chips
Melt the chips over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the cereal and stir until coated. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper and allow to cool. (I cool mine in the fridge.) Cover tightly to store. I keep it in the fridge and take it out shortly before serving, but you would not have to once it has cooled.

IMG_2561 One final quick and easy recipe is from my mom’s friend Bonnie who gave it to her about 50 years ago, so we call it Bonnie’s cheese ball. Hmmm…we seem to name all of our old family recipes after people. It has certainly stood the test of time! I posted this recipe last year, but it bears repeating.
Bonnie's Cheese Ball
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (4 ounce) package bleu cheese
6 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (I use Cracker Barrel)
1 tablespoon freeze dried chives
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt (to taste)
chopped pecans
1 olive
Let the cheeses soften at room temperature. Mix together adding the chives. Add the garlic salt to taste starting with about 1/2 teaspoon. Mine usually wind up with about a teaspoon. Even if you think you've added too much, you probably have not. Drop the mixture onto wax paper and refrigerate until it is easier to handle. I usually divide the recipe into 2 balls because one is usually enough and the other one freezes great! Take them out of the fridge and form them into nice round balls. Roll them on a plate where you have put the pecans and the paprika until they are covered. I usually have to shake on a little extra paprika to make them pretty. Top each with 1/2 olive to decorate. I always serve it with Nabisco Sociables crackers.

IMG_9731 That’s it! Thanks so much for stopping by! And thanks also from the Plate Addict staff to Miss Vanna for taking time out of her busy schedule to give us a hand! I hope that at least one of these recipes will help to make your Christmas holidays a little easier!

Foodie_Friday_Logo_2 Please head on over to visit our own Gollum, Michael Lee, who is the hostess with the mostest for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum! There you will discover her latest recipe and perhaps get a peek at her beautiful home! Be sure to check out the list of this week’s participants, who are certainly better cooks than I am! lol See you next time! A la prochaine!

13 December, 2009

The Christmas Tour of Homes in Madison, Georgia..."The Prettiest Small Town in America"

homes Last weekend, I went to the annual Christmas Tour of Homes in Madison, Georgia. You may not be familiar with Madison, but in my neck of the woods, it is very well-known. It was voted the Prettiest Small Town in America by Holiday Traveler Magazine and is also called the Town that Sherman Refused to Burn during the Civil War, having been saved because there was an important Northern sympathizer who lived there. His presence was a lucky thing for Madison, since over 100 Antebellum homes are still standing! So every holiday season, a select number of the beautiful homes go through their Christmas metamorphosis and open their doors for public viewing! The entire town of Madison becomes a mecca for house peepers like myself!

brady outside 2The first home we visited is actually a bed and breakfast…the Brady Inn. It was built around 1885 and later purchased by Patrick Henry Brady. Our beautiful hostess met us at the door! I am sure that our handsome host Baby Kitty would love to meet her!

straight spindles Upon entering, you are greeted by this gorgeous spindled opening above the door with a view to a stained glass window over the entrance to the dining room.

brady interior All of the rooms are exquisitely furnished with wonderful period pieces. Oh! It looks like one of the rooms already has a guest! lol

straight condo This next home is actually a loft-style condominium in a refurbished cotton warehouse. You enter through this shady vine-covered porch. Wouldn’t you love to have your morning coffee here?

IMG_9264 I love this unusual mantel! The owner is a Native American and you can see those influences throughout the home.

straight dr Isn’t this a fabulous tablescape? Notice the stacked pottery used as the centerpiece. You can see the brick walls and high ceilings in the background.

IMG_9274 This is my favorite, I think, and you will see why! It is the D’Huart Ivy Cottage, built in 1853.

fr home mosaic Its current owner lived in France for 20 years and has filled it with wonderful French antiques that she brought with her! I lingered over every little treasure and tiny detail!

IMG_9281 There was a pair of these lovely French antique chairs…with wonderfully detailed needlework!

IMG_9284 I have never seen a more intricately carved armoire outside of a museum…fabulous!

IMG_9285 I love this old prayer chair! Don’t expect finely carved pews in the cathedrals of France. Instead, there are rows of these low chairs with a ledge on the back for kneeling in prayer.

IMG_9287 This antique deer head hook was in the kitchen. I love the hoof!

IMG_9280 There was a pair of antique miniature sedan chairs on the mantel. The larger one of the two only stood about 10 inches tall!

straight sedan chairIt has hinges and a latch so that it can be opened. There are tiny packages waiting on the seat for its miniature passenger! Adorable! As you can see, I loved every minute detail of this home!

IMG_9297 This next home is exactly what you are wishing for when you go on a tour of homes! It is called Hilltop and was built circa 1832 with wonderful Greek revival details.

IMG_9306 Many of the furnishings are American antiques, with English porcelains and antique oriental rugs. I love the detail on the mantel!

IMG_9308 The Christmas tree also stands in the same room. Can you see the dried hydrangeas scattered about in the tree? It would take my little garden a long time to produce that many! lol

IMG_9301 In the dining room, there was a lovely portrait of a child over the mantel. I love the pecan garland…so unusual!

straight molds In the kitchen, the owner had displayed her collection of antique oriental candy molds. I had never seen these before!

IMG_9309 And what little boy wouldn’t love this room? My grandson would have gone straight for the truck collection on the hearth! lol

IMG_9305 But I think the family room was my favorite. It had such a warm glow!

straight house The final home, the Caldwell Cottage, was more modern. Set on a wooded lot, it was built in 2004 from a plan by William Poole of Southern Living fame.

IMG_9319 This home used all natural greenery in its decorations. I showed you a close-up of this centerpiece in my previous post. I love the use of artichokes, Key limes, and cranberries!

straight kitchenThe kitchen was decorated with a candy theme and starred a wonderful pass-through to…

IMG_9334 …a rustic two story living room! Gorgeous!

straight toile Of course, I fell in love with this toile bedroom! Notice that the walls are all constructed of wide planks, as they were throughout the house. It gave the feeling of a much older home.

IMG_9337 Isn’t this an unusual chair? I loved the little doggie pillow, too!

IMG_9335One final view…of their beautiful pool looking through the paper whites that were blooming in the sun room. Sigh!

I don’t know about you, but I am hungry after all of that walking! Hmmm…my camera battery seems to have died! Too bad I can’t show you the…er…slice of hummingbird cakehealthy raw veggies with fat free dip that I had for a snack! lol

Thanks so much for going on the tour with me! I hope you enjoyed it! Please head on over to Mary’s at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday to see one of her beautiful mosaics and to find a list of this week’s participants. You will be treated to some wonderful photos from some very talented people!

met mon Next, be sure to visit Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday where you can get a peek at her gorgeous home and see what sorts of changes she is making, as well as find out who else is playing along! I’m betting there will be lots of Christmas decorations!

deck the halls

And then on Tuesday, please join Susan at thoughtsfromovertherainbow for Deck the Halls! We will be showing off our Christmas decorations every Tuesday between December 1st and January 5th, so come get in on the fun! Thanks again for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!